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  • Suzy Wakefield

Free Returns Are Never Free

As consumers we love a free return as much as the next person. As fashion entrepreneurs we see how much it really costs our clients to have their customers send product back to them. It’s a financial loss for sure. More importantly it’s a chance for word of mouth to haunt your brand with grassroots negativity. The Breck commercial that went along the lines of -- she told two friends, and they told friends… was so super successful for a reason. Everyone could relate to the power of sharing our perspectives.

This leads to our point of why it’s so very important to make an investment in building a solid foundation around your brand at the same time as you are being fiscally frugal. As the old adage goes, you don’t want to be penny wise and pound foolish. At the outset of launching your brand, everywhere you turn there is something to spend on and nothing coming in so it might seem hard to know what costs are non-negotiable. We’re here to remind you what is the foundation of your brand-PRODUCT!

And In order to get product right, you need people like ourselves who can create a strong concept from your vision, then design and fit collections that support that vision. Additionally, here are a few easily missed stakeholders who are imperative to getting great product in your consumers hand;

Production/Supply Chain Expert

This person will support your brand in finding the right vendor and then will ensure that you create and follow an achievable calendar for development and production. They will also be able to advise you on key aspects of the relationship with the vendor including but not limited to payment terms, price and minimum negotiations, aligned team support from vendor and delivery requirements.

Technical Designer

This key role maintains clear oversight into the grade rules (a proportional difference of measurements between sizes) for the development of designs. They also tag team with designers like us to problem solve our creations in the fit and development stages. And are the liaison between designer and vendor to come up with practical, production ready ways to achieve these designs. And in doing so ensuring that integrity of them is maintained as well as the price targets that your brand has established.

Fit models

This is a cost that often causes sticker shock in the new start-up founder. While it’s not an inexpensive amount of money, we are big believers in their value across sizes. Your friend might be a size that you have a sample in, but she doesn’t know how to articulate if a panty is ‘too friendly’ because it’s not anchoring or too much fabric in the back, etc. Your fit model does.

Bottom line, don’t put the reputation of your brand on the line, when a little money upfront can cause a whole lot of disruption and dollars on the back end. All the fabulous marketing in the world can’t mask this. As the chairman of a previous company I worked for used to say—“ Bad Food, Don’t Tell.”

Free Returns are Never Free.

Don't hesitate to reach out with questions on this topic or any other that we might be able to help with in your journey.

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